The Question of Meditation – J. Krishnamurti

We are going to discuss the question of meditation; it is a rather complex question and before we go into it, we have to be very clear about this searching, this seeking for experience, trying to find out a reality. We have to understand the meaning of seeking and the searching out of truth, the intellectual groping after something new, which is not of time, which is not brought about by one’s demands, compulsions and despair. Is truth ever to be found by seeking? Is it recognizable when one has found it? If one has, can one say, ‘this is the truth’ – ‘This is the real’? Has search any meaning at all? Most religious people are always talking about seeking truth; and we are asking if truth can ever be sought after. In the idea of seeking, of finding, is there not also the idea of recognition – the idea that if I find something I must be able to recognize it? Does not recognition imply that I have already known it? Is truth ‘recognizable’ – in the sense of its having already been experienced, so that one is able to say, ‘This is it’? So what is the value of seeking at all? Or, if there is no value in it, then is there value only in constant observation, constant listening? – Which is not the same as seeking. When there is constant observation there is no movement of the past. ‘To observe’ implies seeing very clearly; to see very clearly there must be freedom, freedom from resentment, freedom from enmity, from any prejudice or grudge, freedom from all those memories that one has stored up as knowledge, which interfere with seeing. When there is that quality, that kind of freedom with constant observation – not only of the things outside but also inwardly – of what is actually going on, what then is the need of seeking at all? – For it is all there, the fact, the ‘what is’, it is observed. But the moment we want to change ‘what is’ into something else, the process of distortion takes place.

Observing freely, without any distortion, without any evaluation, without any desire for pleasure, in just observing, we see that ‘what is’ undergoes an extraordinary change.

Most of us try to fill our life with knowledge, with entertainment, with spiritual aspirations and beliefs, which, as we observe, have very little value; we want to experience something transcendental, something beyond all worldly things, we want to experience something immense, that has no borders, that has no time. To ‘experience’ something immeasurable one must understand the implications of ‘experience.’ Why do we want ‘experience’ at all?

Please do not accept or deny what the speaker is saying, just examine it. The speaker – let us again be definite about that matter – has no value whatsoever. (It’s like the telephone, you do not obey what the telephone says. The telephone has no authority, but you listen to it.) If you listen with care there is in that, affection, not agreement or disagreement, but a quality of mind that says, “Let’s see what you’re talking about, let us see if it has any value at all, let us see what is true and what is false.” Do not accept or deny, but observe and listen, not only to what is being said, but also to your reactions, to your distortions, as you are listening; see your prejudices, your opinions, your images, your experiences, see how they are going to prevent you from listening.

We are asking: what is the significance of experience? Has it any significance? Can experience wake up a mind that is asleep, that has come to certain conclusions and is held and conditioned by beliefs? Can experience wake it up, shatter all that structure? Can such a mind – so conditioned, so burdened by its own innumerable problems and despairs and sorrows – respond to any challenge? – can it? And if it does respond, must not the response be inadequate and therefore lead to more conflict? Always to seek for wider, deeper, transcendental experience, is a form of escape from the actual reality of ‘what is’, which is ourselves, our own conditioned mind. A mind that is extraordinarily awake, intelligent, free, why should it need, why should it have, any ‘experience’ at all? Light is light, it does not ask for more light. The desire for more ‘experience’ is escape from the actual, the ‘what is’.

If one is free from this everlasting search, free from the demand and the desire to experience something extraordinary, then we can proceed to find out what meditation is. That word – like the words ‘love’, ‘death,’ ‘beauty,’ ‘happiness’ – is so loaded. There are so many schools which teach you how to meditate. But to understand what meditation is, one must lay the foundation of righteous behavior. Without that foundation, meditation is really a form of self-hypnosis; without being free from anger, jealousy, envy, greed, acquisitiveness, hate, competition, the desire for success – all the moral, respectable forms of what is considered righteous – without laying the right foundation, without actually living a daily life free of the distortion of personal fear, anxiety, greed and so on meditation has very little meaning. The laying of that foundation is all-important. So one asks: what is virtue? What is morality?

Please do not say that this question is bourgeois, that is has no meaning in a society which is permissive, which allows anything. We are not concerned with that kind of society; we are concerned with a life completely free from fear, a life which is capable of deep, abiding love. Without that, meditation becomes a deviation; it is like taking a drug – as so many have done – to have an extraordinary experience and yet leading a shoddy little life. Those who take drugs do have some strange experiences, they see perhaps a little more colour, they become perhaps a little more sensitive, and being sensitive, in that chemical state, they do perhaps see things without space between the ‘observer’ and the thing observed; but when the chemical effect is over, they are back to where they were with fear, with boredom, back again in the old routine – so they have to take the drug again.

Unless one lays the foundation of virtue, meditation becomes a trick to control the mind, to make the mind quiet, to force the mind to conform to the pattern of a system that says, “Do these things and you will have great reward.” But such a mind – do what you will with all the methods and the systems that are offered – will remain small, petty, conditioned, and therefore worthless. One has to inquire into what virtue is, what behavior is. Is behavior the result of environ- mental conditioning, of a society, of a culture, in which one has been brought up? – You behave according to that. Is that virtue? Or does virtue lie in freedom from the social morality of greed, envy and all the rest of it? – Which is considered highly respectable. Can virtue be cultivated? – And if it can be cultivated then does it not become a mechanical thing and therefore have no virtue at all? Virtue is something that is living, flowing, that is constantly renewing itself; it cannot possibly be put together in time; it is like suggesting that you can cultivate humility. Can you cultivate humility? It is only the vain man that ‘cultivates’ humility; whatever he may cultivate he will still remain vain. But in seeing very clearly the nature of vanity and pride, in that very seeing there is freedom from that vanity and pride – and in that there is humility.

When this is very clear then we can proceed to find out what meditation is. If one cannot do this very deeply, in a most real and serious way – not just for one or two days then drop it – please do not talk about meditation. Meditation, if you understand what it is, is one of the most extraordinary things; but you cannot possibly understand it unless you have come to the end of seeking, groping, wanting, greedily clutching at something which you consider truth – which is your own projection. You cannot come to it unless you are no longer demanding ‘experience’ at all, but are understanding the confusion in which one lives, the disorder of one’s own life. In the observation of that disorder, order comes – which is not a blueprint. When you have done this – which in itself is meditation – then we can ask, not only what meditation is, but also what meditation is not, because in the denial of that which is false, the truth is.

Any system, any method that teaches you how to meditate is obviously false. One can see why, intellectually, logically, for if you practice something according to a method – however noble, however ancient, however modern, however popular – you are making yourself mechanical, you are doing something over and over again in order to achieve something. In meditation the end is not different from the means. But the method promises you something; it is a means to an end. If the means is mechanical, then the end is also something brought about by the machine; the mechanical minds says, “I’ll get something.” One has to be completely free from all methods, all systems; that is already the beginning of meditation; you are already denying something which is utterly false and meaningless. And again, there are those who practice ‘awareness.’ Can you practice awareness? – If you are ‘practicing’ awareness, then you are all the time being inattentive.

So, be aware of inattention, not practice how to be attentive; if you are aware of your inattention, out of that awareness there is attention, you do not have to practice it. Do please understand this; it is so clear and so simple. You do not have to go to Burma, China, India, places which are romantic but not factual. I remember once travelling in a car, in India, with a group of people.

I was sitting in front with the driver, there were three behind who were talking about awareness, wanting to discuss with me what awareness is. The car was going very fast. A goat was in the road and the driver did not pay much attention and ran over the poor animal. The gentlemen behind were discussing what is awareness; they never knew what had happened! You laugh; but that is what we are all doing, we are intellectually concerned with the idea of awareness, the verbal, dialectical investigation of opinion, yet not actually aware of what is taking place.

There is no practice, only the living thing. And there comes the question: how is thought to be controlled? Thought wanders all over the place; you want to think about something, it is off on something else. They say practice, control; think about a picture, a sentence, or whatever it is, concentrate; thought buzzes off in another direction, so you pull it back and this battle goes on, backward and forward. So one asks: what is the need for control of thought at all and who is the entity that is going to control thought?

Please follow this closely. Unless one understands this real question, one will not be able to see what meditation means. When one says, “I must control thought,” who is the controller, the censor?

Is the censor different from the thing he wants to control, shape or change into a different quality? – are they not both the same? What happens when the ‘thinker’ sees that he is the thought – which he is – that the ‘experiencer’ is the experience? Then what is one to do? Are you following the question? The thinker is the thought and thought wanders off; then the thinker, thinking he is separate, says, ‘I must control it.’ Is the thinker different from the thing called thought? If there is no thought, is there a thinker?

What takes place when the thinker sees he is the thought? What actually takes place when the ‘thinker’ is the thought as the ‘observer’ is the observed? What takes place? In that there is no separation, no division and therefore no conflict therefore thought is no longer to be controlled, shaped; then what takes place? Is there then any wandering of thought at all? Before, there was control of thought, there was concentration of thought, there was the conflict between the ‘thinker’ who wanted to control thought, and thought wandering off. That goes on all the time with all of us.

Then there is the sudden realization that the ‘thinker’ is the thought – a realization, not a verbal statement, but an actuality. Then what takes place? Is there such a thing as thought wandering? It is only when the ‘observer’ is different from thought that he censors it; then he can say, ‘This is right or this is wrong thought,” or “Thought is wandering away I must control it.” But when the thinker realizes that he is the thought, is there a wandering at all? Go into it, sirs, don’t accept it, you will see it for yourself. It is only when there is a resistance that there is conflict; the resistance is created by the thinker who thinks he is separate from the thought; but when the thinker realizes that he is the thought, there is no resistance – which does not mean that thought goes all over the place and does what it likes, on the contrary.

The whole concept of control and concentration undergoes a tremendous change; it becomes attention, something entirely different. If one understands the nature of attention, that attention can be focused, one understands that it is quite different from concentration, which is exclusion. Then you will ask, “Can I do anything without concentration?” “Do I not need concentration in order to do anything?” But can you not do something with attention? – Which is not concentration. ‘Attention’ implies to attend, that is to listen, hear, see, with all the totality of your being, with your body, with your nerves, with your eyes, with your ears, with your mind, with your heart, completely. In that total attention – in which there is no division – you can do anything; and in such attention is no resistance. So then, the next thing is, can the mind in which is included the brain – the brain being conditioned, the brain being the result of thousands of thousands of years of evolution, the brain which is the storehouse of memory – can that become quiet? Because it is only when the total mind is silent, quiet, that there is perception, seeing clearly, with a mind that is not confused.

How can the mind be quiet, be still? I do not know if you have seen for yourself that to look at a beautiful tree, or a cloud full of light and glory, you must look completely, silently, otherwise you are not looking directly at it, you are looking at it with some image of pleasure, or the memory of yesterday, you are not actually looking at it, you are looking at the image rather than at the fact.

So, one asks, can the totality of the mind, the brain included, be completely still? People have asked this question – really very serious people – they have not been able to solve it, they have tried tricks, they have said that the mind can be made still through the repetition of words. Have you ever tried it – repeating “Ave Maria,” or those Sanskrit words that some people bring over from India, mantras – repeating certain- words to make the mind still? It does not matter what word it is, make it rhythmic-Coca Cola, any word – repeat it often and you will see that your mind becomes quiet; but it is a dull mind, it is not a sensitive mind, alert, active, vital, passionate, intense. A dull mind though it may say, “I have had tremendous transcendental experience,” is deceiving itself.

So it is not in the repetition of words, nor in trying to force it; too many tricks have been played upon the mind for it to be quiet; yet one knows deeply within oneself that when the mind is quiet then the whole thing is over, that then there is true perception.

How is the mind, the brain included, to be completely quiet?

Some say breathe properly, take deep breaths, that is, get more oxygen into your blood; a shoddy little mind breathing very deeply, day after day, can be fairly quiet; but it is still what it is, a shoddy little mind. Or practice yoga? – Again, so many things are involved in this. Yoga means skill in action, not merely the practice of certain exercises which are necessary to keep the body healthy, strong, sensitive – which includes eating the right food, not stuffing it with a lot of meat and so on (we won’t go into all that, you are all probably meat eaters). Skill in action demands great sensitivity of the body, a lightness of the body, eating the right food, not what your tongue dictates, or what you are used to. Then what is one to do? Who puts this question? One sees very clearly that our lives are in disorder, inwardly and outwardly; and yet order is necessary, as orderly as mathematical order and that can come about only by observing the disorder, not by trying to conform to the blueprint of what others may consider, or you yourself may consider, order. By seeing, by being aware of the disorder, out of that comes order. One also sees that the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, sensitive, alert, not caught in any habit, physical or psychological; how is that to come about? Who puts this question? Is the question put by the mind that chatters, the mind that has so much knowledge? Has it learned a new thing? – which is, “I can see very clearly only when I am quiet, therefore, I must be quiet.” Then it says, “How am I to be quiet?” Surely such a question is wrong in itself; the moment it asks ‘how’ it is looking for a system, therefore destroying the very thing that is being inquired into, which is: how can the mind be completely still? – Not mechanically, not forced, not compelled to be still. A mind that is not compelled to be still is extraordinarily active, sensitive, alert.

But when you ask ‘how’ then there is the division between the observer and the thing observed.

When you realize that there is no method, no system, that no mantram, no teacher, nothing in the world that is going to help you to be quiet, when you realize the truth that it is only the quiet mind that sees, then the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet. It is like seeing danger and avoiding it; in the same way, seeing that the mind must be completely quiet, it is quiet.

Now the quality of silence matters. A very small mind can be very quiet, it has its little space in which to be quiet; that little space, with its little quietness, is the deadest thing – you know what it is. But a mind that has limitless space and that quietness, that stillness, has no center as the ‘me’, the ‘observer,’ is quite different.

In that silence there is no ‘observer’ at all; that quality of silence has vast space, it is without border and intensely active; the activity of that silence is entirely different from the activity which is self-centered. If the mind has gone that far (and really it is not that far, it is always there if you know how to look), then perhaps that which man has sought throughout the centuries, God, truth, the immeasurable, the nameless, the timeless, is there – without your invitation, it is there. Such a man is blessed, there is truth for him and ecstasy.

Shall we talk this over, ask questions? You might say to me, “What value has all this in daily life? I’ve got to live, go to the office; there is the family, there is the boss, competition – what has all this got to do with it?” Do you not ask that question? If you ask it, then you have not followed all that has been said this morning.

Meditation is not something different from daily life; do not go off into the corner of a room and meditate for ten minutes, then come out of it and be a butcher – both metaphorically and actually.

Meditation is one of the most serious things; you do it all day, in the office, with the family, when you say to somebody, “I love you” when you are considering your children, when you educate them to become soldiers, to kill, to be nationalized, worshipping the flag, educating them to enter into this trap of the modern world; watching all that, realizing your part in it, all that is part of meditation. And when you so meditate you will find in it an extraordinary beauty; you will act rightly at every moment; and if you do not act rightly at a given moment it does not matter, you will pick it up again – you will not waste time in regret. Meditation is part of life, not something different from life.

-J. Krishnamurti

From The Flight of the Eagle, Chapter Three

Living Life Totally vs Witnessing – Osho

I am a little confused. Is there a contradiction between living life totally, and at the same time witnessing it from outside?

I have seen the question. It was too long, so I told someone to summarize it, but in the summary it has lost its basic quest.

The question was that I am teaching witnessing but I also teach you to do it totally. And the problem to the questioner is that if we do it totally, then who will witness it? And if we witness it, at least a part of our consciousness will not be in the action, it will not be total. So he is asking whether we can totally be in the act, or we have to divide ourselves into a witness and into a doer. The question has arisen because you have only thought about it. You have not done anything to experience what I am saying.

First, witnessing is not a doing.

When the mirror reflects you, do you think it does something? It is simply its nature to reflect. There is no action on its part. Even when you are not there it is reflecting. It may be reflecting simply the walls of the room, it may be reflecting anything that is in front of it.

Reflection is not an activity. So it is with witnessing – witnessing is not an activity.

If you think logically, the contradiction will arise. But if you do what I am saying, you can be totally into an act – your body will be in it, your mind will be in it, your heart will be in it, and that is your totality. But there is something beyond these three which is not counted as you, which is not you, which is part of the universal consciousness, which is the divine in you – and that is the mirror.

So when you are witnessing, your mirror is reflecting. You are totally in the act – your body, your mind, your heart – everything is in the act. But there is something more than these three things.

In the East we have called it simply by number. We have not given it a name for a certain reason.

We have called it the fourth, turiya. It is a number, it is not a name. We have not given it a name because any name will create some meaning in your mind, some ideas in your mind; a number cannot do that.

You consist of three elements: the body, the mind, the heart. The fourth is just a silent presence in you – it is not you. Don’t include it within the boundaries of you; it is beyond you. It is capable of reflecting you as totally in the act. And the action will not divide because it is not an action; it is witnessing, it is simply reflecting.

It is one thing to think about it; then immediately the logic, the reason will say that you are doing two things – you are walking and you are witnessing. That divides. But this is only logical reasoning.

Just try to walk silently, joyously – put everything into a morning walk. Your body is relishing the morning sun, the air; your mind is full of the rising life all around you; your heart is throbbing with excitement; the birds are singing and the sky is so colorful… You be just the walk. And you will be surprised that there is someone witnessing which cannot say “I” – which is not your ego, which is the universal self.

Your body is different from mine, your mind is different from everybody else’s, your heart is different from everybody else’s. But in consciousness we are one continent – nobody is an island. That universal consciousness is always there. Either you are aware of it, then it makes your life a rejoicing, or you are unaware of it, then your life becomes just a dragging somehow towards death.

So there is no contradiction at all. But remember, there are many experiences. If you think about them you will find contradictions. If you experience them you will not find any contradiction.

When you ask a question try to experience it not just out of thinking. Ask out of your experience, and then it will be a totally different thing. Everything is not logical, and it is good that everything is not logical. That’s why there is some mystery. That’s why there is some unknowable surrounding you. There is a possibility to discover it, and that discovery is the greatest ecstasy.

I have not found any contradiction in my experience, but in thinking, I agree with you there is contradiction.

But I am not telling you to think about it, I am telling you to live it.

-Osho

From The Sword and the Lotus, Chapter Twelve

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Awareness Plus Action – Osho

The reality is always there waiting just near your heart, near your eyes, near your hands. You can touch it, you can feel it, you can live it – but you cannot think it. Seeing is possible, feeling is possible, touching is possible – but thinking is not possible.

Try to understand the nature of thinking. Thinking is always about, it is never direct. You can see the reality, but you will have to think about it and ‘about’ is the trap, because whenever you think about you have moved away. ‘About’ means indirect. ‘About’ means you will not see this flower here and now, you will think about it, and the ‘about’ will become a barrier. Through that ‘about’ you will never reach to this flower.

Seeing is direct, touching is direct – thinking is indirect. That’s why thinking misses. A lover can know the reality, even a dancer can know it, a singer can feel it, but a thinker goes on missing it.

I have heard about one Jewish philosopher. He was an ordinary peasant but very philosophic. His name was Yossel. He would think about everything, as philosophers do. It was very difficult for him to do anything because thinking would take all his time, and by the time he was ready the opportunity was lost.

Once he went to the market, to a nearby village, to sell his wheat. He told his wife, “As soon as I am able to sell the wheat, immediately I will send you a telegram.”

He sold the wheat with much profit so he wrote a telegram, went to the post office, filled in the form – and then started thinking about it.

He wrote: “Wheat sold profitably. Coming tomorrow. Love and kisses, Yossel.”

Then he started thinking and he thought, “My wife will think I have gone mad. Why ‘profitably’? Am I going to sell my wheat at a loss?” So he crossed out the word ‘profitably.’ Then he became more concerned, because if he could miss and write a wrong word he may have made other errors also. So he looked, started thinking about each word.

Then he said, “Why ‘coming tomorrow’? Am I going to come next month? Or next year? My wife knows that I will come as soon as the wheat is sold.” So he crossed out the words ‘coming tomorrow.’

Then he thought, “My wife already knows that I have come to sell the wheat, so why write, ‘sold wheat’?” He crossed that out too. And then he started laughing. He said, “I am writing to my own wife. Why should I write ‘love and kisses’? Am I writing to somebody else’s wife? And is it her birthday or Yom Kippur or something?”

He crossed out that too.

Now only his name remained: Yossel. He said to himself, “Yossel, have you gone mad? Your wife already knows your name.” So he tore up the telegram, happy that he had saved much money and foolishness.

But this is how it happens: if you go on thinking ‘about’, you miss the whole life – everything is crossed out by and by. In the end you are also crossed out – not only is the word crossed out, you are also in the end crossed out. Thinking becomes smoke; everything moves into it and everything is finished.

And action becomes impossible – even to send a telegram is not possible. Action becomes impossible because action is direct and thinking is indirect. They never meet.

This is the problem in the world. People who think, they never act; and people who don’t think, they go on acting. The world is in misery. People who are fools, they go on acting because they never think, they jump in everything. Hitlers and Napoleons and Maos, they go on doing things, and wise people, the so-called thinkers – Aristotle, or Kant, or Hegel – they go on thinking, they never do anything.

The problem for a man who is seeking reality is how to stop the vicious circle of thinking, yet be aware. Because fools also don’t think, but they are not aware. Be aware – the energy that moves into thinking should become awareness. Consciousness that goes on in a vicious circle with thinking should be retained, purified. Thinking should stop, the whirling of consciousness should stop, but not consciousness. Consciousness should become more crystallized and action should be there, action should not stop.

Awareness plus action, and you will attain reality immediately. And not only you – you will create a situation in which others can also attain reality. You will become a milieu, a climate around which things will start happening. That’s what happened with a Buddha, with a Sosan, with a Chuang Tzu.

Remember: action is good, thinking is a vicious circle; it never leads anywhere. So thinking has to stop but not action. There are people who will go on thinking; action will stop. That’s how it happens when a person renounces life, moves to the forest or the Himalayas. He renounces action, not thinking. He renounces the world where action was needed. He is renouncing reality itself, because through action you come in contact with reality. Seeing is action, moving is action, dancing is action, painting is action. Whatsoever you do, you come in contact with reality.

You have to become more and more sensitive in your doing. Doing is not to be renounced; action should be totally there, because that is the passage through which you move into reality and the reality moves into you. Try to understand, because this is very basic – basic to me: renounce thinking, don’t renounce action.

There are people who go on thinking, and there are people who go on renouncing action. But in the Himalayas what will they do? Then the whole energy, not moving in action, will move into thinking. They will become great philosophers. But philosophy is a fool’s land; you live in words, not in realities. Love disappears, only the word ‘love’ is retained. God disappears; because he was there in the fields, in the market, in the world, but the word ’God’ is retained. Actions disappear, only concepts are carried. Your head becomes your whole being.

Avoid. Never renounce action, only renounce thinking. But if you renounce thinking there is a possibility you may become unconscious, or you may become a fool. You may start doing anything whatsoever, because now you don’t know what to do, and you don’t think. You may go crazy.

Thinking is to be renounced, but you are not to become more unaware, more unconscious. You have to become more conscious.

This is the whole art of meditation: how to be deep in action, how to renounce thinking, and how to convert the energy that was moving into thinking to become awareness.

It is going to be very delicate and subtle, because if you miss a step you fall into infinite ignorance.

It is easy to drop thinking, but then you go to sleep. Every day in deep sleep it happens: you renounce, thinking stops – but then you are no more there, consciousness drops. Your consciousness has become too attached, associated, with thinking, so whenever thinking stops you fall into a coma.

And this is the problem. One has to renounce thinking and not fall into a coma, because the coma will not lead you to reality. If you fall unconscious you are not going into reality, you are simply fast asleep: the conscious has merged into the unconscious. Just the reverse has to be attained: the unconscious merges into the conscious. If the conscious falls into the unconscious you fall into a coma, and if the unconscious falls into the conscious and becomes conscious itself, you become enlightened, you become a Buddha, a Sosan.

And it is very easy to help the conscious fall down into the unconscious, because it is a very small fragment. One tenth of your being is conscious, nine tenths of your being is unconscious. Just a small fragment has become conscious, and that too is always wavering. Any moment it can fall, it is very easy.

That’s how it happens in intoxication: you take alcohol, the conscious falls into the unconscious.

Hence the appeal in all the ages and all the climates and in all the countries of alcohol. And this is what happens when you take a drug: the conscious falls into the unconscious.

It is beautiful because thinking stops. Sleep is beautiful and you have many, many dreams. And if you are a good dreamer then a drug will give you beautiful dreams – fantastic, more colorful than any dream can be, more luminous. You move into paradise, into a dreamland, but you are not moving into reality.

LSD, marijuana, mescaline, or any drug, gives you only a good sleep, and in that good sleep you dream. Those dreams are colorful, and your life is so poor and your life is such a misery that you would even like to live those dreams rather than live in this miserable life. You would choose – if that was the only choice – to live in a beautiful dream rather than to live in this miserable life. This life is like a nightmare. Even if a drug is only going to give you a luminous dream, colorful, three dimensional, why not take it? Because what is there in this life? Because life is in such a mess you choose dreams.

Drugs, alcohol, or other sorts of intoxicants, they have always been used by religious people. But through them you never move into the reality. Through them you fall into a torpor, into a coma. And in that coma you can have dreams.

And if you have been thinking too much about God, you can see God, because you can project your own dreams. Dreams can be directed and guided. If you have been thinking too much of Christ, then while under the influence of a drug Christ will appear to you. This is your own mind playing games. If you have been too much attached to Krishna then he will be standing there with his flute on his lips, singing and dancing. If a Hindu, a devotee of Krishna, takes LSD he will see Krishna, and a Christian will see Jesus, and a Buddhist will see Buddha – but these are mind projections. Reality is miserable but don’t hanker after dreams, because if you hanker after dreams then there is only one way: how to help the conscious become unconscious again.

A small part has come up out of unconsciousness, and that is the beauty of a human being. Agony and ecstasy both, but that is the beauty of a human being, that he has become an island in a vast unconscious. This island has to grow higher and higher so it becomes a continent. Through drugs it will go again underwater, you will live again the life of an animal or a tree – beautiful in themselves but not worthy of you, because you are losing so much. And you could have attained reality; that island could have become a continent. But not only drugs – there are other subtle means also to help the conscious become unconscious.

Through music it can be done, through chanting it can be done. If you repeat a mantra continuously you will fall asleep, because anything monotonous brings coma.

They are subtle means, on the surface not like drugs. In every temple, church it is going on – and temples and churches are against drugs, and they don’t know what they are doing. They are also using subtle drugs, not so crude as LSD or marijuana but still drugs – because when you chant a certain word continuously it gives you sleep, it cannot give you anything else.

You relax. The very chanting gives you a deep boredom. The same word – ram, ram, ram – you go on, you go on, you go on… What will you do? Because mind remains alert only if something new is happening, otherwise mind goes to sleep. If something new is happening then mind is alert. If nothing new is happening, only ram, ram, ram, a chanting, and you know again and again it will happen, infinitely, the mind starts feeling sleepy.

Every mother knows this. Whenever a child is not going to sleep she will repeat a line of a song, very simple, two, three words, and she will repeat the same again and again – a lullaby. It becomes a mantra and the child goes to sleep. And the mind is the same – whether you are a child or an old man makes no difference – the mind goes into sleep through lullabies, but the process is the same.

Thinking has to be stopped, but not by becoming unconscious. Thinking has to be stopped by becoming more conscious, alert, aware, so the energy that is moving in thinking moves into consciousness, and a witnessing arises in you. So remember, thinking has to be stopped not through chanting, but through becoming a witness to the thought process – looking at it, watching it, a watcher on the hills, looking, seeing…

If you deeply see and penetrate the words, they start disappearing. A gap comes, an interval. Clouds disappear and the blue sky is seen. You are alert, sensitive – not in a coma. More unconsciousness has been drawn into consciousness; your flame is bigger, more vital, and you can see more, you can touch more, you can smell more. And your action takes on a new quality, the quality of divineness.

Whenever a Buddha touches you, the touch is different. You also touch, you also feel sometimes differences. You touch a man just casually, and then you don’t move through the hand. Then the hand is dead, closed; you simply say hello with a dead hand. You can feel it, that the hand has been given but yet not given. It was diplomatic. The hand was not alive, not warm, not meeting and merging with you. Sometimes when in love the hand is given, it is a merger, energy flows through it, it is an opening. Through the hand the being comes to meet you. It is warm, it is alive, it trusts you.

When a Buddha touches you, it is absolutely different, the quality has changed. Because whenever the consciousness is total, absolute, every action becomes total. When he touches, he becomes just the touch. He is nothing any more. His whole being is the touch, he flows into it. He is nowhere else, he is in the touch.

At that moment he is no more eyes, he is no more ears; at that moment his whole being is transformed into touch. He becomes a total touch, and you will feel that you are illuminated through his touch – energy has moved into you. If you were not ready you may even be shocked. If you were ready then you will rejoice, you will be delighted in it.

When a Buddha looks at you he becomes just the eyes; otherwise is not possible, because he is not divided within. When you look, you look and you do many other things also. Thinking goes on, you go on divided. Your eyes are not total.

When a Buddha looks at you his eyes are total. They will be like a burning sun. They will penetrate you, they will make a hole within your being, they will go directly to your heart. You will never be the same again – if you allow. Otherwise you can remain closed and he cannot penetrate you. Even if he touches, he touches a dead corpse; you can remain closed.

Whenever consciousness is there, and action, consciousness and action become a totality.

-Osho

From Hsin Hsin Ming: The Book of Nothing, Chapter Three

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

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Osho on OSHO – Osho

Tokusan, holding up his kneeling cloth, said, “OSHO!” 

‘Osho’ is a word signifying great respect, love and gratitude. It also sounds beautiful.

-Osho

From Zen: the Diamond Thunderbolt, Chapter Two

To the person of realization, there is nothing pure and nothing impure; there is only the real and the shadow of the real to which he has been clinging up to now.

One day a monk came along, and not knowing he was speaking to the Master, asked Bokushu the way to the Master’s room. Bokushu took off his sandal and hit the monk on the head with it – the monk ran off. 

Then Bokushu called to him, “OSHO!” And the monk turned his head. “That’s the way to it,” Bokushu said, pointing with his finger.

What has happened in this incident? Unless you lose your head, you cannot find your heart. Hitting the head of the monk with his sandal is simply a way of saying, “Please stop thinking.” Except for thought, nothing is a barrier to truth. But the monk became afraid, “This seems to be a madman. I am asking the way to the master’s room and he hits me. It is better to run away from here. He may do something even more nasty.” So he ran away. Bokushu called him back, “OSHO!”

‘Osho’ is a very respectful word. It is a way of calling someone almost divine. It is in essence so respectful that only a disciple calls a master ‘Osho’.

Bokushu called after him, “OSHO!” indicating: “Don’t be afraid and don’t escape. It is against your dignity. You are to me as worthy of respect as Buddha himself.” And saying, “OSHO!” he said, pointing to his own room, “That’s the way to it.”

This kind of incident is impossible in this world today unless you are humble enough. If the master hits with his sandal on your head, you will start fighting with him. You will not think that he is a man worthy of respect. He will seem to be insane – you are simply asking the way and he hits you.

But once a different world existed. Bokushu did both things: first he hit him on the head with his sandal, and then he called him, “OSHO!” – You are also a master; who you are looking for? If you are looking for the master, this is the way. Drop your head outside; be humble, innocent. In your silence, without thought, you may find the master.

Do you call us “buddhas” – as Bokushu called the monk in this story “OSHO” –To remind us of the way?

Not of the way, Maneesha, but to remind you of yourself. The way is always a long journey. There is no need of any way. You can just here, now, be awake without traveling on any way. I don’t talk about the way, I talk about awakening this very moment, like lightning, like a thunderbolt. And I don’t think that if you decide to sleep a little longer, there is any harm in it.

Yes, Maneesha, I call you all buddhas in the same sense as Bokushu called the monk ‘OSHO’. I love you and I respect you; whether you are awake, that is a very small matter.

-Osho

From Zen: The Diamond Thunderbolt, Chapter Three

Be silent.

Close your eyes.

No movement of the body.

Just become frozen so that you can enter into yourself.

This silence, OSHO, this silence, the Buddha.

Deeper, deeper, deeper.

The deeper you go, the more OCEANIC becomes the experience.

The dewdrop slips from the lotus leaf and disappears in the ocean.

This is our eternal reality.

This is our divineness.

There is no other God than this experience.

There is no other prayer than this tremendous silence, this peace, this ecstasy.

To make it deeper, OSHO, Nivedano …

(Drumbeat)

Relax, just as if you have died.

The body may go on breathing, but you remain in.

Pull yourself as much as possible inwards.

The more you are in, the more the buddha is awake.

At the very center of your being, you are the ultimate experience of being a buddha.

Drink it, let it sink into every fiber and cell of your body, your mind.

Carry it twenty-four hours within you – just like a silent flame, showing you the path, reminding you that you are the goal, not the way; the God, not the devotee; the sought, not the seeker.

Nivedano …

(Drumbeat)

You can all come back, and for a few seconds, just sit like buddhas in your grandeur, in your grace.

Blissful is the night with so many buddhas, breathing together to the same song, listening together to the same music, feeling together the very heartbeat of the universe.

Except this, there is no religiousness.

And this religiousness is neither Christian, nor Hindu, nor Mohammedan.

It is freedom from all boundaries, it knows no limits.

Be unlimited, be the OCEAN.

Okay, Maneesha?

-Osho

From Zen: The Diamond Thuderbolt, Chapter Three

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

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Sex, an Old Leaf Dropping from the Tree – Osho

Can it be true that sex is already over? I have been your sannyasin for four and a half years and my body is thirty-one years of age. I never planned to drop sex, but now it feels like it has dropped me. Am I a quickie or what?

Dhyan Satyama, the place you are in and the space you are in… four and a half years is really too long. You can understand by the laughter of the people. They are in the same boat. If you meditate, sex is going to drop by itself.

Sex is part of your unconsciousness, and it is a blissful experience if it drops by itself. If you force it to drop, it never drops. On the contrary, it becomes perverted; it starts finding ways from the back door. Unless it drops by itself, it never drops.

Meditation is the secret most method of going beyond the body and all that the body contains. Sex is part of your body, your biology; it is not part of your consciousness. The moment you start rising up in your consciousness, sex is left far behind. Naturally, at the age of thirty-one one starts wondering, “Something seems to have gone wrong…. Nothing has gone wrong, everything has gone right. You should feel blessed that you are free from the greatest imprisonment of your being.

Adam and Eve were standing underneath the tree of knowledge, looking at the apple in Eve’s hand. Eve turned to Adam and said, “After we have eaten the apple, we are going to do WHAT?” Naturally the poor woman was not yet aware about what. And they had eaten only one apple… It seems you have been eating too many apples; then one becomes a quickie.

Little Ernie’s mother was worried about his progress at school, so she took him to see the psychiatrist. The shrink decided to give him an aptitude test and asked the nurse to put a hammer, a wrench and a screwdriver on the table. “If he grabs the hammer,” said the shrink, “he will be a carpenter. If he grabs the wrench, he will be a mechanic. If he grabs the screwdriver, he will be an electrician.” Ernie fooled them all. He grabbed the nurse.

It does not matter what your age is; sex has nothing to do with age. It can disappear at any moment or it may not disappear even when one leg is in the grave. It all depends whether your life is just a horizontal phenomenon or something vertical also.

That verticalness can happen any moment, particularly for those who are in meditation. You can start moving differently than any other animal is capable of – except a few men. It is unfortunate that I have to say “except a few men”; intrinsically, every man is capable of going beyond sex.

But people think sex is life; the moment sex disappears, they think; now there is no point in going on living. Sex was their meaning, their very salt. These are the poorest people in the world who have not known anything beyond the lowest; they have never raised their eyes towards the stars.

“A man has reached old age when he can’t take yes for an answer.”

So it doesn’t matter… at the age of thirty-one you have become a wise old man. And the beauty of a wise old man is tremendously valuable in comparison to the foolishness of all those who are just young. The young people are bound to fool around; it is rare at this age, to be able to get out of this stupidity that we call youth.

Dhyan Satyama, you are exactly what I would like every sannyasin to be. This place is a place for transformation, and the only energy you have got to be transformed is sex.

Sex is your basic life force.

If you transform it into higher forms, it is going to disappear from its lower manifestations. But you are not going to miss anything; at each higher state the energy will give you more and more blissfulness. The higher it rises… it becomes a tidal wave of blissfulness. You start feeling orgasmic in every fiber of your being. Sexual orgasm seems to be a faraway echo, almost as if you have seen it in a dream – just a faint memory.

Because what you are now experiencing is so authentic and so real, so solid, you will not need a companion. That too is one of the basic dependencies, and that’s why all couples are in constant fight. The reason is that nobody wants to be dependent on anyone. It takes away your dignity, your individuality, your freedom. It makes you in a subtle sense a slave.

The man who loves a woman will hate the woman, because that woman has become a necessity, and one hates to be dependent on anyone. And the same is the case for the woman. Every woman hates the husband, has to hate him, because she has become dependent on him for momentary pleasures which don’t last long.

A meditator finally comes into a space where he does not need anyone to give him pleasure. He is full of blissfulness, overflowing, he can share, he can fill the whole world with his blissfulness. His very being has become orgasmic.

Now that is something tremendously significant to be remembered: you are both, man and woman together. Because you are born of a father and a mother – half of your being has been contributed by your father and the other half by your mother – naturally you cannot be just man or just woman. It is a fallacy perpetuated for centuries that man is man and woman is woman. It is absolutely wrong.

Every man has his woman within him and every woman has her man within her. Only the meditator comes to know his whole being. Suddenly his inner woman and the inner man melt and merge into each other. That creates an orgasmic state in him. Now it is no more a momentary experience that comes and goes; it is something that continues, day in, day out, like heartbeat or breathing. Every moment he is in an orgasmic state.

Naturally, sex disappears. A greater experience has come in. The sun has risen; what is the use of having a candle unnecessarily burning? You are bound to blow it out. If somebody keeps his candle burning in the sun, it only shows one thing: that man is blind.

A meditator comes to know such a vast experience of joy that all other pleasures simply fade away.

You are asking, “Can it be true that sex is already over?”

Yes, it is true, and you need not repent for it. Don’t look back, look ahead. Something greater is going to open in your being, something like a lotus, which will give you absolute fulfillment and contentment, and freedom, independence, individuality. For the first time you will feel you are able to fly alone into the vast sky of existence. Your need for the other has disappeared – that is what sex is, the need for the other – and in this state of orgasmic experience within yourself, without the help of anyone else you become capable of sharing your love, not bargaining, not even hoping for something in return.

In other words, this is what I was just talking about: friendliness – friendliness towards the whole existence. Nothing is greater, more glorious. Nothing is more of a splendor and a miracle. You are saying, Satyama, “I have been your sannyasin for four and a half years and my body is thirty-one years of age.” The body can be of any age….

There are two things which are not necessarily of the same age as the body. The lowest of these two is well understood by the psychoanalyst; the higher is still beyond them. Psychology is still struggling to stand up. It is crawling on the ground at the lowest level of human energies; hence, about the lower it has found a few fundamental truths.

One is the mental age: a man may be seventy years old, yet his mental age may be only fourteen – or vice versa. In cases like Mozart… when he was only four years of age he was able to play on musical instruments like a great master; at the age of five he was already becoming famous. Even great masters of music could not believe the phenomenal energy of Mozart. At the age of five, he was almost as mature mentally as very few people become at the age of seventy.

Psychology has accepted that body and mind don’t grow together. Sometimes, most of the time, the mind is lagging behind and the body goes on growing. A few times, in rare cases, the mind grows ahead and the body lags behind.

When Emerson, a great creative and sensitive man, was asked about his age, he said, “Three hundred and sixty years.” The people who were present could not believe it; they could not believe that Emerson, a man of truth, a very innocent man, a man loved and respected by all those who could understand the heights of consciousness… why should he lie about such a thing? Three hundred and sixty years old? – he does not look more than sixty. What to make of it?

Finally, one man asked, “Perhaps I could not rightly hear what you said. Will you please repeat it?”

Emerson laughed and said, “Why are you going in a roundabout way? Why don’t you say directly that you cannot believe that my age is three hundred and sixty years?”

Then another man said, “Now we have to ask you. You look only sixty at the most; you will have to give us evidence that you are three hundred and sixty years of age. And a man of your integrity is expected not to lie.”

Emerson said, “I am not lying. I have lived so much in sixty years that you will be able to live only in three hundred and sixty years. According to my intensity and totality of life, I have lived in sixty years as much as an ordinary man will live in three hundred and sixty years. I am not lying; it all depends how you live.”

Meditation changes your life pattern completely.

This has still to be recognized by psychology. But the psychology of the enlightened ones knows perfectly well that consciousness can go on growing. It need not grow simultaneously with the body. Adi Shankara, the founder of a systematic, philosophical system for the Hindus, died at the age of thirty three. He became enlightened somewhere about the age of seven. When he was seven his father had died. He was the son of a poor father, a poor brahmin; the mother was only living for him, the only son. At the age of seven, Adi Shankara asked his mother that he wanted to renounce the world. Can you conceive of a child of seven years old thinking of renouncing the world? – must be another Mozart, a Mozart of spirituality.

The mother said, “Your father has died and you want to renounce the world. Don’t you think of me?”

Adi Shankara said, “I can only promise you one thing: before you die I will be present, so in your last moments you can die peacefully. But right now, allow me to renounce the world. I want to become a sannyasin and to go in search.” The mother refused.

Not to hurt her, Shankara remained for a few days more. One day he went to the river. He used to go for his bath every day, but that day he insisted that his mother should also come with him. The mother was a little concerned: why he was so insistent? But when he became absolutely adamant that “if you don’t come, I will not go for the bath. Then I cannot worship and then I cannot eat either,” so the mother had to go.

The mother was standing on the river bank and the little child, seven years old, was caught by a crocodile. A crowd gathered, but there was nothing that could be done. Both the feet of the boy were inside the mouth of the crocodile, and Shankara shouted to the mother, “Now there are only two possibilities: either you give me permission to renounce the world and become a sannyasin or the crocodile is going to eat me. It is up to you to decide. Be quick!”

It is a strange story. How did the crocodile conspire in this? And the mother of course immediately shouted, “I allow you, you can become a sannyasin. Even this much will be a solace to me, that you are still alive.”

And the story goes that the crocodile immediately left him and disappeared. Must have been a very saintly crocodile… Whatever the case – perhaps it is only a parable – one thing is certain: that Adi Shankara at the age of seven must have convinced his mother that either she had to allow him to be a sannyasin or she had to be ready for his death. How he managed it, that is a different matter. But one thing is certain: he gave her the clear-cut choice, either death or sannyas. Obviously the poor mother had no choice; she allowed him.

At the age of seven, Adi Shankara became a sannyasin. In the whole history of the world there is no other case parallel to Shankara. Somewhere between the age of seven and eleven – there is no historical record of it, but it seems just between seven and eleven – he must have become enlightened. At the age of eleven he started writing his great commentaries on the Upanishads, and on one of the greatest and most complicated scriptures that exists in India, Badrayana’s Brahmasutras.

At the age of eleven it is almost impossible even to understand it – and Shankara wrote the greatest commentary. It has defeated all the great commentators of the past and all the great commentators that came after him. Nobody has been able to go beyond these flights of consciousness and bring such tremendous meaning to the almost dead scripture of Badrayana, Brahmasutras. The way he interprets is possible only after enlightenment. Each small word… the way he gives a turn to its meaning. Something which was looking very ordinary immediately becomes extraordinary. He has the touch that transforms everything into gold.

By the time he was thirty-three, he had written all the great commentaries on all the great scriptures, and he had traveled all over the country and defeated all the so-called great philosophers, theologians, priests. At the age of thirty-three he died.

Consciousness is not limited to your physical age.

Consciousness can go far ahead of you, your body.

So don’t be worried, Satyama. You are saying, “I never planned to drop sex, but now it feels like it has dropped me.” That’s the right way. You should never drop sex with conscious effort, because that is only repression. You should not pay any attention to sex. Your whole focus should be towards meditation, and one day sex is going to drop just like an old leaf dropping from the tree, not making even any noise, silently falling into the earth and disappearing. […]

-Osho

From Satyam Shivam Sundram, Chapter Ten

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Re-establishment in Reality – Jean Klein

Question: What does sadhana mean?

Answer: What truly exists is ultimate reality, the Self. The ego and the world are no more than objects superimposed upon it. “I am”, which is the source of all experience, is beyond the experiencer/experienced duality. When we place the accent on the “I am”, on being aware, and not on thought nor on perception, we gradually become deeply relaxed, both on the neuro-muscular level and on a mental plane.

If we disinterestedly observe all the states we experience, we soon come to realize that each perception, each thought, is reabsorbed into knowledge, ‘I know’: the only true reality, before any other activity commences. Let yourself sink deeply within this stillness each time it makes itself felt.

The world you perceive is none other than a figment of the imagination founded on memory, fear, anxiety and desire. You have locked yourself away within this world. See this without jumping to conclusions and you will be free. There is no need for you to free yourself from a world which exists only in your imagination.

What you take to be reality is only a concept arising from memory. Memory arises from the mind, the mind from the witness, the witness from the Self. You are the witness, the onlooker standing by the riverside, changeless, beyond the limits of space and time: you cannot perceive what is permanent, because you are it.

Do not nourish the ideas you have built around yourself, nor the image people have of you. Be neither someone nor something, just don’t play the game. This will bring about being, constant awareness.

The personality is nothing other than a projection, a habit created by memory and nourished by desire. Ask yourself the question “Who am I?” and lucidly observe that you are not this thinker, doer, sufferer; all these forms appear and disappear indefinitely creating an illusion of continuity. The idea of being a person, an ego, is nothing else but an image. It is a reflection created by the Self, with which it identifies itself.

It is inherent to creativity to identify itself with its creation. The world of objects, just like the ego, is only a figment of your imagination, your creation. The teacher helps you to understand, by his presence and his gift of teaching, that you are neither object nor ego. The objectless thought without object, is the only real link between the mind and the witness, for the witness carries with it the scent of the Self. “I am this or that” is only part of your imagination, a hallucination. The objectless ‘I’ points towards its source, its origin, and finally loses itself in stillness beyond time.

Observe the way your mind moves, works, without having any preconceived ideas about it. A moment will come when you discover yourself to be the witness. Subsequently, when all striving has left you, you will realise that you are the light shining behind the observer. Reality is neither a product of the mind nor the result of a whole train of thoughts, it just is. The only method we can suggest is to observe impartially the way in which your mind reacts in the different circumstances of everyday life. But of course you must realise that you can never find your true Self in a perception. Live as previously, thinking and feeling, but become aware of these functions, thus you will spontaneously free yourself from them.

What you think of as your personality will vanish, leaving only the witness. In the end, he will lose himself in ultimate knowledge.

Above all don’t ask me how this comes about.

Question: How can we detach ourselves from objects?

Answer: Being attached to things and repeating things over in one’s mind come from fear, a need for security. You become a slave to them. We cannot free ourselves from their grasp by discipline nor by exercises because there is nothing to strive for, nothing to be attained. Freedom from objects comes directly from our true nature when you “know your real self”. This realisation is a spontaneous intuition which leaves you in a state of being, of fullness, free from the becoming process.

This mind is an extension of our being, it can only function harmoniously when illuminated by the Self. All forms of control submit us to memory. A controlled mind can never act freely, nor spontaneously. Of course we can say that memory is the best of all tools, but it is a poor guide, for it functions within the framework of the already known. The unknown, what is new, unique, is a closed world to us. Since the independent ego, which we take ourselves to be, is the source of all our anxiety, we cannot rid ourselves of it by effort or discipline. Effort is a driving force resulting from constraint. By clear-sighted awareness of cause and effect, another view will open out for you. Then the problems, together with the emotional involvement they imply, will leave you.

Any form of exercise is bound to be a goal, to a result. It is an obstacle. Be aware of your constant desire to be this or that. There is no goal to be reached since what you are looking for is here and now and always has been. Then the mind, free from all desire to become, will be at peace, and the centre of attention will shift from the object to the ultimate subject, a foretaste of your real Self. Be vigilant, clear-sighted, don’t strive to become.

Question: What should we do when there is a striving towards something during meditation?

Answer: You must simply witness it. The only obstacle to this meditation is the striving behind it. Sooner or later you will be attention, attention without object. This would seem to have no meaning when talking of attention, for one is necessarily attentive towards something. But this attention is absolutely empty. It is not focused on an object, it is free from any memory.

Question: My biggest stumbling block is the world of difference that exists between the intuition I encounter while meditating and the fact that everything is forgotten once I undertake my daily activities. In the end I begin to wonder why I meditate at all, for an hour later I have forgotten everything and am once again submerged by objects.

Answer: The problem is this; during meditation you experience and contemplate a vacant state of mind, what you perceive is the absence of activity. You know this absence but do not yet know the knower. Once you are knowingly this knower, you will know “being”, whether the mind be active or passive. There will be no difference, no change: from then on, this awareness will be an unwavering certainty. •

During meditation you will experience total emptiness which in a way is still an object. Absence of thought inevitably implies eventual presence of thought. Thus what you sense is a state of deep peace free from activity. One day this void, this blank, will vanish too and you will encounter ultimate stillness.

Up till now you have contemplated a calmed mind, but should a bird sing or someone speak, your inner silence is broken. That is why you ask this question. By its very nature, the mind is occasionally empty; it is nonetheless nothing but an instrument.

Question: I can’t see how you can possibly lead an everyday life and “be” at the same time.

Answer: Everyday life appears before someone. You are this someone but you are not what appears day after day. Question yourself deeply: To whom do these things appear? Who judges them, condemns them? Who swings between likes and dislikes, and who is it that is also an integral part of what appears?

You know the person that refuses, accepts or chooses. What you are fundamentally is completely beyond all this. You know moments when you must make a choice and others free from choice.

Within yourself you must distinguish between the person involved in choosing and the observer, who is ever-impartial. You will come to place yourself knowingly in this presence free from choice. Here, what we call everyday life takes root and flourishes. Here, there is no person bound by fear, desire or anxiety, to choose, intervene, or interrupt the natural flow of life.

From what you have said you would think that everyday life was nothing but a burden. Who for? Drop the ‘who’, and you will see that there is no burden to bear.

Question: How can I free myself from mental confusion?

Answer: Constantly witness your doings. Vigilance purifies the mind and sooner or later will place you knowingly beyond it.

You encounter ups and downs in your search for the Self because you do not yet see things in their true perspective—as a whole. They will continue just as long as you consider yourself in terms of “I am my body”. The mind will lead you astray until you perceive its true nature.

The basis for re-establishment in true reality is the act of listening, free from the past, to what the teacher has said, and to the reminders that this creates.

The unspoken word, acting as a background to all that takes form, enables this truth to bec6me experience. Be clear-headed, and don’t hang on to what you are not. The universe of which you are the source obeys its own laws. Don’t look for reasons for what you believe to be. It is a completely useless expense of energy. What you are basically is without cause, beyond improvement. Thinking in terms of a doer responsible for his acts stems from the illusion of the ego and its characteristics.

You must frequently turn to this background, as often as the chance to do so occurs. Your attention is constantly turned either towards objects or to ideas, and you have no sense of being, it is completely unknown to you. Become the spectator, become aware of the natural flow of life, your motives, actions, and what results from them. Observe the walls you have built around yourself. As you become more aware of your body and mind you will come to know yourself. As this image subsides of things, as you believe them to be, you will have a clear-headed insight of what you are, something quite other than a product of the mind. This insight results from elimination. All confirmations come from memory, are outside real experience. You will gradually feel less and less involved in whatever should come up. You will discover yourself to be the perceiver. Once you free yourself from the idea, “I am the body” and the consequences, you will awaken to your natural state of being. Give yourself up entirely to this discovery. True awareness cannot be obtained by projecting known factors in terms of concepts and perceptions. What you are fundamentally cannot be experienced through reason and is only reached once you eliminate what you are not.

A willful ego hinders you from being. The witness must enter upon the scene, enabling the ego to be recognized for what it is, an object. This witness opens the door to being. The ego cannot “know” itself, it identifies with what it thinks, feels, experiences. The teacher leads the disciple away from what he believes himself to be, in order to enable him to get to know his real Self and awaken to all his perceptions. For the ego, there is nothing but resistance, defense, agitation. It is the witness that shines forth and shows up the ego for what it is, an illusion.

The meditative state leads us to discover what we really are. We become aware of our body and thought patterns, of the reasons that motivate our actions of which we were scarcely conscious. By allowing our thoughts to follow on one from another, to develop fully without our intervening, this meditative state becomes a purification, a letting go, without there being a person that purifies or lets go. It is an uninvolved observation post. A whole world of unsuspected energies releases itself, frees itself. Mental activity ceases to be agitated and follows its natural course, allowing us to discover ourselves as the witness, the onlooker. We completely abandon the “I am this, I am that” reflex. The onlooker transcends the experience and the experiencer. He is pure awareness.

The world exists when we think about it, it is ever renewed. It is only memory that gives the false impression of continuity. The individual does not exist outside the ultimate knower, he is but a shadow, nothing, a reflection on the mind’s screen. He is a fabrication of both memory and habit. Always agitated he hopes and claims, searching for confirmation and security, striving to accumulate. Basically, he is frightened and does not dare question himself profoundly.

All perceptions, all experiences are connected with time, but the ultimate knower transcends time. It is a lack of clear-sightedness that causes us to identify with temporality. Any perception of what you think, feel or do is only transitory. The feeling of being acts as a support and is permanent. Accept the invitation that the souvenir of this very feeling creates in you, plunge deep within it, until you are carried away by reality.

-Jean Klein

From Neither This Nor That I Am

Witnessing Without a Center

Perhaps this can be helpful to someone. I have noticed recently that when I watch thoughts (content) there is a container (me). But when I watch the activity (not content), there is only witnessing.

This is important because that means that as long as I am engaging in the content the “me” remains. And if I take one step back and watch the movement, witnessing is, without a center. And this witnessing without a center is delicious.

This “take one step back” is really a misnomer. It is not a question of doing anything but simply “not doing.” Engaging in the content is “doing.” To watch without either grasping or rejecting is not doing and it is by watching without engagement that one finds oneself first witnessing the movement without content and when that movement is also witnessed without engagement, then one is Not, and only awareness Is.

-purushottama